What is an internet fax? Definition and usage

LAST UPDATE: June 29th, 2017

An Internet fax is a term for a system that allows users to send and receive faxes over the Internet.

There are some different systems that can be considered an “internet fax” – from server & enterprise level systems to individual fax machines that use the T.38 standard (fax over IP) to online fax services.

Different terms

Internet fax is used interchangeably with the terms “online fax,” “email fax,” “web fax,” “VoIP fax,” “e fax,” “PC fax,” “virtual fax,” or “cloud fax.”

While each of these terms is somewhat interchangeable, they each have their specific meanings that make them slightly different.

How to get an internet fax

Getting an internet fax system in place depends on the type of Internet fax system that you need to put in place.

Most online fax services can be set up by simply signing up with the provider. Depending on the provider, either an existing fax number can be ported over, or a fax number can be selected, either as a toll-free, local, or vanity number. An online fax service can be set up by almost anyone, however, for larger installations (enterprise-wide), it can be best to have a central administrator who manages users, access, and number allocation.

A fax server needs to be deployed, set up, and configured. Fax servers are normally used in enterprise or dedicated high-volume faxing environments, and each system and scenario are different depending on the individual needs. Typically this is done by an IT department.

A fax machine running the T.38 fax standard (fax over IP) is set up in very much the same way as a traditional fax machine is. However, it is placed on the network by the IT department or IT specialist.